Yahoo news claims evolution “just got harder to defend”. Nope.

This headline, with a link to the full article by Eric Metaxas (who, after C.S. Lewis, describes himself as a “mere Christian”), was on the front page of Yahoo News yesterday (click screenshot to go there):


To see the full “argument,” such as it is, you have to go to the conservative news service, which took its article word for word from Breakpointa Christian site founded by Chuck Colson, whose vision is “a revived Church renewing culture and awakening the world to Truth” and “providing a Christian perspective on the important news and issues of the day.” Well, you might be a bit dubious about the antievolution article given its sources, but have a look at Metaxas’s argument. I maintain that, like all creationist arguments against “evolution,” it’s full of holes and that the headline above is deeply misleading.

Metaxas’s argument is simple. The recent discovery of possible stromatolites (accretion fossils produced by cyanobacteria) from 3.7 billion years ago is problematic, so Metaxas claims, for those who think that life began on Earth. (Before this discovery, the earliest convincing evidence of cellular life on Earth was 3.4-3.5 bya, so this pushes known prokaryotic life back 200-300 million years.)

Further, says Metaxas, there’s evidence (though it’s still a bit controversial) for a “Late Heavy Bombardment” (LHB) of asteroids striking the Earth, repeatedly, about 4 billion years ago, after the Earth had formed 4.6 bya and cooled. That evidence comes from dates of rocks, collected by astronauts, that were involved in such a bombardment on the Moon. Because the LHB was pretty close to the time that we first find prokaryotic cells, leads Metaxas to his conclusion:

Well, [the newly described stromatolite remnants] appear in rocks most scientists date to 220 million years older than the oldest fossils, which pushes the supposed date for the origin of life back to 3.7 billion years ago.

This, admits the New York Times, “complicate[s] the story of evolution of early life from chemicals … .” No kidding! According to conventional geology, these microbe colonies existed on the heels of a period when Earth was undergoing heavy asteroid bombardment, making it virtually uninhabitable. This early date, adds The Times, “leaves comparatively little time for evolution to have occurred … .”

That is an understatement. These life forms came into existence virtually overnight, writes David Klinghoffer at Evolution News and Views  “[g]enetic code, proteins, photosynthesis, the works.”  [JAC: Klinghoffer is an intelligent-design creationist and Evolution News and Views is an ID creationist website run by the Discovery Institute.]

This appearance of fully-developed life forms so early in the fossil record led Dr. Abigail Allwood of Caltech to remark that “life [must not be] a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing.” Rather, “[i]t will emerge whenever there’s an opportunity.”

Pardon me? If life occurs so spontaneously and predictably even under the harshest conditions, then it should be popping up all over the place! Yet scientists still cannot come close to producing even a single cell from raw chemicals in the lab.

Dr. Stephen Meyer explains in his book “Signature in the Cell” why this may be Darwinism’s Achilles heel.

Ergo, life had very little time to originate through natural processes after the LHB stopped, so God must have done it (note the reference to Stephen Meyer, a Christian member of the creationist Discovery Institute).

Here are the problems with Metaxas’s argument:

  • The dating of the 3.7-billion-year-old stromatolite “fossils” is questionable; they’re not fossils themselves, but traces in the sediments that the authors attribute to stromatolites. The date may be right, but we need more solid findings to confirm this.
  • The LHB itself is controversial for various reasons; a bit of Googling will tell you why. And even if it did occur (I tend to side with those who think it did), its dates aren’t certain, and it could have been over 200 million years before the first traces of life appeared.
  • Although during the LHB many asteroids possibly struck the Earth, that didn’t necessarily prevent life from forming.  Molecular dating of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all living creatures is now about 4 billion years ago, jibing pretty well with the later (but not too much later) appearance of cells.  That life, as posited by Nick Lane and others, may have originated in vents (either cold or hot) in the deep sea, which could well have been impervious to asteroid strikes, or could have avoided them. Further, some chemicals used in the origin of life may have arrived on asteroids, though I don’t see that as necessary. What we do know is that life seems to have started pretty soon after the Earth cooled down, so that complex cells were present at least a billion years after the molten Earth formed. As for the “ease” of life implying that it should now be popping up all over the place, well, existing organisms would surely outcompete newly arising life or nom it to extinction.
  • We have no idea how long it took life to originate from the chemicals and environmental conditions present on early Earth. If you accept Nick Lane’s scenario in his book Life Ascending, it could have been very quick, eliminating Metaxas’s problem.
  • Finally, what Metaxas is kvetching about here is not evolution in general, but abiogenesis: the origin of life. As for the rest of evolution—the transformation of early cells into other creatures, up to the millions of species we have today—well, we have plenty of evidence for that, a lot laid out in my book Why Evolution is True. The fossil record shows many of these transformations, and we have further evidence of evolution from molecular biology, biogeography, vestigial organs, embryology, and so on. None of that needs more defending, and it’s to Metaxas’s discredit (but a common tactic of creationists) that he conflates the origin of life with its evolution after it had begun.

It’s true that we don’t know exactly when life began on Earth, and of course what you call “life” is a bit subjective. We do know that we see prokaryotic cells around about a billion years after the Earth was formed, and soon after the LHB. Is that not long enough for a spontaneous origin of life on earth? Who knows? Where’s the theory that says otherwise? Just asserting that “there wasn’t enough time” is hardly a scientific argument.

And shame on Yahoo, as well as those other sources, to conflate the origin of life with the evolution of life once it had begun. The former is still the subject of lab and field work, but there’s no need to defend the latter—the evidence is overwhelming.

Metaxas, I’d guess, has, in his ignorance, allied himself with the ID creationists, for have a look at the “recommended” books below the Breakpoint article.  Yep, they’re all by creationist Stephen C. Meyer, a flack for the Discovery Institute:


Finally, I hardly need to argue that if we don’t yet understand something, we’re not compelled to give up completely and invoke God—clearly what Metaxas is implying. The god-of-the-gaps argument has failed over and over gain in the last few centuries—most notably with evolution itself—but desperate and ignorant creationists continue to use it. Sad.


  1. ethologist
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Yahoo News has become a completely promiscuous and useless archive of real news, pop-culture fluff, clickbait, and fake news with a cultural or commercial agenda.

    • Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      I agree totally it is to me very worrying that such a large corp as Yahoo would be willing to allow such pseudo-science nonsense on its websites like this…

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        They are probably Yahoos (in the Swiftian sense)


        • Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          The have been going downhill ever since they changed their logo …

          If they can’t cough up for a decent graphic designer and let the execs come up with the design, heaven knows their attitude to editorial staff.


      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Clicks and eye-ball seconds is their metric of worth. Their only metric of worth.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Isn’t Yahoo itself an instinct form of non-life?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Terrible…should be extinct.

  3. Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of the wise admonition:

    “Better to hold your peace and allow others to think you are ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    Is it ignorance (failure to do one’s homework) or malice (lying for Jebus)? Has to be one or the other.

    • jeffery
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I believe that quote came from Mark Twain:
      “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be considered a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”

  4. Lynn David
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The Rosetta probe just found complex carbon molecules in dust from a comet.

    Also, I remember reading several years ago of experiment which showed that if amino acids were transported on comets that cometary impact could cause those amino acids to form longer chains – or something like that, I’m a geologist not a biologist.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I’m a geologist too. But I find that resorting to “panspermia” is just intellectually unsatisfying. All that it does is move the problem of the origin of life from where we have a reasonable chances of finding useful evidence to somewhere much more remote where we’ve got damned-all chance of finding evidence – some other star (and not even one which is necessarily “close” in any meaningful sense).
      I’m not terribly impressed by the benefits of proving that comets, molecular clouds etc have appreciable amounts of various amino acids and “life-precursor” molecules. The “concentration problem” still needs to be solved in Earth’s oceans, and isn’t particularly affected by whether the molecules were made in space or on Earth.
      Our best chances of finding evidence of the earliest stages of any event is at the scene of the event and not looking under a stone several years or millennia of travel from scene of the event.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        Your first para sounds a bit like the ‘ought-is’ fallacy, though I don’t think that was intended. Of course, those considerations have no bearing on where life is most likely to actually have originated.

        But I agree, since looking in one place is virtually impossible, and in the other place quite feasible, we might as well look in the feasible place first.

        (P.S. Did I just split an infinitive no man has split before?)

  5. GBJames
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Sigh. And sub.

  6. darrelle
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Evolution and abiogenesis are not the same thing. Neither Darwin or “Darwinists” or modern evolutionary biologists have ever claimed that the TOE explains or is intended to explain abiogenesis. The only people who think that seem to be people who don’t understand the TOE very well at all. Like creationists. Funny that the author of the article references several well known AIG representatives.

    The TOE explains and makes predictions about changes in allele frequencies within populations over time. In other words it assumes that life already exists. This fact is not hard to understand. I think this demonstrates dishonesty in anti-evolutionists who ignore this or pretend that this isn’t so.

    Granted, the unrivaled success of the TOE does indeed suggest that life can occur without magic. Arguments from Incredulity don’t merit much consideration, and that is all the creationists seem to have.

    Research into abiogenesis has produced many plausible explanations for various steps along a plausible path from non-living to living systems. It is unlikely that we will ever be able to say with a high degree of certainty how exactly life did start on Earth, but it seems very likely, given progress so far, that we will be able to explain more generally how life could have arisen.

    Given that we don’t know yet exactly how abiogenesis may happen, how long it takes, under what conditions, and that the error bars on any models of environmental conditions on Earth billions of years ago could very plausibly be larger than the time necessary for abiogenesis to occur or for evolution to produce stromatolites from that genesis, I don’t think the article’s opinion that evolution wouldn’t have had time to produce stromatolites is worth much at all. What this new find implies to me, if confirmed, is that life may be easier than we thought. Pretty much the opposite of what the article claims.

    But of course that is a standard tactic used by creationists. Take something that logically and rationally further supports naturalism and boldly flip it around 180 and create a ridiculous non sequitur delivered with a straight face as if it were obvious.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      My understanding of the current thinking on abiogenesis is that the plausible pathways from nonlife to life involve the same sort of Darwinian processes we see in biological evolution. Indeed, Darwinian selection of RNA sequences can be demonstrated in vitro.

      So it seems disingenuous to insist that evolutionary theory has nothing whatever to say about the origins of life and that “The only people who think that seem to be people who don’t understand the TOE very well at all.” On the contrary, an evolutionary perspective strongly suggests a continuum of Darwinian processes starting well before the first living organisms, and this perspective has been argued persuasively by (for instance) Addy Pross in his book What Is Life?

      Of course this doesn’t justify the claim that since we don’t (yet) fully understand abiogenesis, evolutionary theory must be wrong. But the counter-claim that Darwin doesn’t apply until after life originated is, in my view, equally unjustified.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 16, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Whether I was unclear or you are hasty, you have missed my point. I’ll try to state it as clearly as possible.

        The theory of evolution was not devised in order to account for how life started. The validity of the TOE is not reliant on any account of how life started or on being able to account for how life started. And yet that is exactly what the typical creationist arguments such as presented in the yahoo article presume. That is my criticism and I can’t see how it is the least bit disingenuous.

        Note that my criticism does not imply that Darwin (by which I assume you mean the TOE up through the modern synthesis, not merely Darwin himself) doesn’t apply until after life originated. I think it is safe to say at this point that it is a fact that evolutionary principles are widely applicable to nearly all natural processes, particularly the general insight that complexity can arise from simpler precursors via purposeless processes. I think your comments about the applicability of evolutionary principles are accurate and agree with them, but they aren’t in conflict with what my criticism is.

        For example, even if we discovered, beyond any reasonable doubt, that a god like being created the first living organism and seeded Earth with it, that wouldn’t invalidate the TOE.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      I know that biotic evolution is different in the starting materials from abiotic evolution, but both entail natural selection even though the ancestors of one are not alive. Both will have variation of inheritable characters, and selection from the environment for the best replicators.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 16, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Please see my response to Greg, above.

  7. JohnH
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    If a theologian were stranded on the island he/she would say “I believe there is a can opener and have faith that it will work to our benefit in It’s own good time. Can openers work in mysterious ways!”

  8. dabertini
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    My guess is that if Stephen Meyer were to read this post he would end up with a migraine!!

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    A useful idiot is Metaxas – the name sounds like a famous philosopher like Anaxagoras, or Anaximander…

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      The only Metaxas worth bothering with is the Greek brandy of that name. Much more palatable than Eric’s pondwater.

    • Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      Poor Greeks! Economic/financial crisis, migration crisis, and now this Metaxas giving them a bad name.

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Yeah, evolution is totally false. Tell that to lice and bacteria, as I just read that over-the-counter medications are increasingly no longer effective in controlling lice & bacteria continue to adapt to antibiotics.

    • Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      That’s microevolution. Microevolution is totally ok; it’s just macroevolution that’s fake.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 16, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Yeah I was thinking that as I wrote. That’s where “kinds” comes in.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Are plants that are now evolving resistances to Round-up also microevolution?

        • Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Of course! Noah didn’t bring “Round-up Ready” crops on the ark, did he?

  11. GodlessMarkets
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I remember reading about Spegilmans (sp?) Monster in Dawkins’ The Ancestors Tale…isn’t that an example of the kind of spontaneity ID types don’t like?

  12. jeffery
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I was hoping this “article” would come to Jerry’s attention; I’ve been having a lot of fun commenting on it the past day. I knew when I spotted the title that the Creatards would be coming out of the woodwork to spew their swill.
    One thing that amused me was Metaxas’s use of quotes around the word, “stromatolites”, like he wasn’t sure whether they even exist, or it’s just something evolutionists made up.
    What really interested me, though, was the fact that, in the whole article, he never calls into question the 3.7-biilion year-old “timeline”: doesn’t this make him a “Young-Earth heretic”? Just goes to show you how little these people have to go on these days: they screamed, “Show us the transitional fossils”, and we showed them; they screamed, “But- what about the EYE?- Irreducible complexity!”, and we gently and patiently explained to them how complex organs can evolve through a series of slightly more advantageous “steps”. Having backed themselves into a corner of their own making, about all they’ve got left now is the chant, “You can’t make life from a rock.” Hoping to “taint by association” evolutionary theory with our current inability to completely explain abiogenesis, they’ve adapted the “I don’t see a fish turning into a rabbit” demand for “instant” evidence to that of, “Scientists cannot create life in the lab.” Funny thing is that, if scientists DID manage to create life in a lab, there would still be some of these morons screaming, “Yeah- but that was in a LAB- let’s see it happen in nature?”

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I’m still searching for rabbits in the Cambrian.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      After lab created life it will be, “Yeah, but what about conscious life with free will!?!.

    • Posted September 16, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I’ve also been commenting on this and his previous article. It gets annoying though, trying to explain settled science with some of the commenters.

      • Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:10 am | Permalink

        I opened the article when it still had few comments, and they were all from evolutionists.

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    these clashes always fascinate me. I wonder, how do they do it?

    you can see how the author seizes upon an off-the-cuff comment of the scientist – Allwood – from a famous institution and drives it into absurdity.

    argumentum ad absurdum is all fine and good, however, in this case, the author seems to think it means life-as-we-know-it would spring out of his iPhone before September 2017. If only Metaxas could interview Allwood like in a Ray Comfort dialogue.

    and there’s always the big advertising idea that implies a take-down argument. Ray Comfort does this for a living. In this case, … well, its a mess, but this part:

    … ““complicate[s] the story of evolution of early life from chemicals … .” No kidding!”

    … combines a big recent scientific result with pseudo-common sense language “No kidding!”. But the audience – some of whom will buy this, knocked back on their heels – would be looking for devastation from this single point. That works sometimes. But not always. Sometimes you might have to do more than spend 5 minutes on your couch looking at the article.

    Unfortunately for some, that’s too much, and PCC(E)’s adequately-long counter argument isn’t either and won’t do any good, sadly. maybe for a few.

    … yes, I managed to get to a tangible keyboard to write this, unlike usual, on the couch for 5 minutes.

  14. rickflick
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I’m sure these creationists know the things they write are total flibberygast. But, they also know they’ve carved out a nice niche for themselves that pays the bills. Why find a way to make an honest living when lying will do. They’ve discovered early on that you can fool many of the people enough of the time to finance the car and get your kids into Liberty University.
    This goes for outfits like Yahoo too. I still use their mail based on legacy, but I never even glance at that trash they call news.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I think the money thing is what annoys me the most. Imagine if all the money going into pseudo-science went into real science, and all the money that went into religion went into genuine help for those in need. The world would be a much better place.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 16, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Amen to that!

      • Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:16 am | Permalink

        I am not as annoyed by the money going into religion. It supports part of cultural heritage, and it reflects a real need of many people to socialize. I have myself called relatives to a church for a commemoration of 40 days after a loved one’s death. The alternative was to skip the custom or to summon them at the cemetery, making all the old people wondering who the next one would be. After that, I made a small donation to the church – I felt I owed it.

        But the money going to pseudo-science and quackery is all bad money.

  15. Posted September 16, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “If life occurs so spontaneously and predictably even under the harshest conditions, then it should be popping up all over the place!”

    – Uh, this objection and related matters are dealt with in the most elementary possible approximately university level course in biology (like the one I was required to do in CEGEP). Eric Metaxas has learned well his lying for Jesus … (as Meyer seems to do.)

  16. mudskipper
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    All you need to know about Metaxas is that he thinks David Barton is a reliable historian and that Donald Trump could be a capable President.

  17. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Chuck Colson. Templeton Prize winner, 1993.
    Also, the Watergate thing.

  18. Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I saw this post on Yahoo yesterday and was totally baffled as to why Yahoo would allow such a flagrant born again Christian new source to be on its website….!

    Is Yahoo becoming more of a supporter of Born again Christian issues that they would allow such pseudo-science to be posted on their site…???

    I am totally a supporter of true science such as evolution and environmental issues, and seeing this kind of bogus pseudo-science on Yahoo is to me something to worry about…

  19. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    The title of Darwin’s book is “Origin of Species”, not origin of life.

    There is a difference between a hole in at theory re incompleteness and a hole in a theory re an actual contradiction. I don’t understand why creationists don’t see the difference.

    I confess to having purchased David Klinghoffer’s “Why the Jews Rejected Jesus” prior to knowing he was either a creationist or with the Disco Tute. Finding that out may have something to do with why I haven’t read it.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t understand why creationists don’t see the difference.”

      While I’ve no doubt that many of the creationist crowd simply accept the lame arguments their “spokes-people” proclaim without any critical thinking, largely because the arguments are in support of their beliefs and because they trust their authority figures, I have a similar level of doubt (that would be none) that many of their authority figures are fully aware of the contradiction you point out and that they therefore lie.

  20. Kevin
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Metaxas wants heaven to be real. The Xian answer is the one we was raised with and it’s the one he will mostly like die defending.

    If he had an iota of critical thinking skills he would never perjure his own life defending an arbitrary transcendence.

  21. Tom
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    There is a problem with this use of the hypothetical LHC idea. Had it really made the life impossible during this phase, it could equally well have brought life to the earth, which perhaps would explain lifes development following the bombardment.
    And even so, why would this god have allowed the LHC in the first place, was he perhaps just perfecting his skill for destroying the world in a future age?
    Note- The bible relates that he has developed a history of this sort of thing and is therefore not to be trusted.

  22. Tom
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Sorry!! a typo should read LHB

  23. loren russell
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The argument of course is:

    1. Life arose within a few hundred million years of earth’s cooling.
    2. I can’t imagine life arising in such a short time.
    C1: God did it.
    3. God couldn’t be bothered just making bacteria.
    C2: God did all of it.

    OR, more succinctly.

    1. Miracle!
    C. Miracles all the way down!

  24. Darren Garrison
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Funny he should mention the Late Heavy Bombardment:

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Late to the party, but I had gotten that article in my feeds as well. NS is not my usual fare; but not only did it fill in what I must have missed elsewhere, it had a positive criticism. They had more such here, on the accumulating problems of the LHB model:

      I’ve now read the Harrison et al paper, the same author that was behind the > 4.1 Ga fossil candidate find, and is a long time anti-LHB crusader. They certainly implode all the LHB evidence, and suggest that an exponential model explains the – somewhat subjective – plateu (spike) age data. Specifically on the Ar chronometry: “Future work using improved chronological methods, such as in situ 40Ar/39Ar dating (70) as well as quantitative thermochronologic modeling (36), can aid in establishing evidence for or
      against an LHB-type event. Until such evidence is gathered, we conclude that a monotonic decrease in impactor flux explains all existing 40Ar/39Ar data from both lunar and meteoritic samples.”

      Here is their suggested timeline:

      “A scenario consistent with our reanalysis of the meaning of lunar 40Ar/39Ar data, environmental constraints inferred from Hadean zircons (59), the reevaluation of lunar basin-forming impactor size (64), and the >4.5-Ga age of core formation of ref. 31 is that a Late Veneer was delivered to Earth between 4.5 and 4.4 Ga, followed by
      relatively low impact rates.”

      I note that this is consistent with the > 4.3 Ga habitable ocean that Valley observed in the zircon data, with the TimeTree > 4.2 Ga date of the first observable split (between Bacteria and Archaea) after the LUCA, and with “a record of isotopically light carbon consistent with biologic activity [that] extends back to 4.1 Ga (14–16)”.

  25. derekw
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Eric Metaxas’ article from late 2014 in Wall Street Journal was one of the most popuplar op-eds ever for WSJ at the time. As relating to this article old-earth creationist Hugh Ross’ brand new book he states ‘However, as in the case of the origin of life, when research runs head-on into nature’s limits only scientism, not science, would rule out consider of any cause other than nature…..That’s not to say research should be discontinued, but rather that supernatural causality warrants respectful consideration by scientists, rather than immediate and unquestioning dismissal.” This seems to be one of Metaxas’ hidden points but his article is very pop-lite and does seem to go back and forth in confusing abiogenesis and TOE.

  26. Roger
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Eric isn’t stupid, so that only leaves huckster.

  27. Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    I read an article a few days ago (and didn’t bookmark it, gah) that was a summary of a recently published paper in one of the Big Journals. The gist of the paper was that the earth’s surface would have lost some of the elements needed to make life in its early years, and bombardment by comets/asteroids might have been necessary to replenish those elements at the surface where life might form. So, far from being an inhibiting factor for abiogenesis, bombardment might have been a necessary step.

    Sorry about the fuzzy description; this is all from memory, and of course this was a popular science summary, not the actual paper, that I read. Those can be… misleading.

    Posted September 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Hey, “deeply misleading” is a code word for Christianity- what can I say!

  29. Zetopan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    I thought that I had recognized that Eric Metaxas name as being another creationist. Sure enough, here is a link that should help identifying IDiocy of the creationist kind.

    Apparently he thinks (relatively speaking!) that the existence of the octopus somehow destroys evolution. He trots out long ago refuted creationist arguments with the assistance of “my friend Dr. Stephen Meyer” of “ID isn’t creationism” fame.

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